Lessel, Raymond Lake

LESSEL, Raymond Lake (1879-1913), active in Halifax, N.S. from 1904 to 1911. Born on 8 March 1879 he articled with the prominent Halifax architect J.C. Dumaresq in 1897-1900, and took a position as a draftsman with the Royal Engineers Dept. from February 1901 to November 1902. He then moved to Toronto, joining the busiest and most progressive architectural firm there, Darling & Pearson, and gaining valuable experience under the supervision of Frank Darling. In late 1903 he returned to Halifax and opened an office under his own name in the Roy Building in December 1903 (C.A.B., xvii, Jan. 1904, xi; Halifax Chronicle, 9 Feb. 1904, 11), but only a few works by him have been identified. His most important commission was the design for the Post Office and Customs House, Shelburne, N.S., 1908. Normally the Chief Architect of the Dept. of Public Works in Ottawa would have designed and supervised the construction of federal buildings in Canada, but a few of these commissions were awarded to local architects through political patronage, and Lessel did an admirable job of bringing refinements of the Edwardian style to his design for this Shelburne landmark.
Lessel moved to Bridgetown, N.S. in 1912 and died there from tuberculosis on 19 February 1913 (death notice Acadian Recorder [Halifax], 21 Feb. 1913, 3; Morning Herald [Halifax], 21 Feb. 1913, 12; biog. M. Rosinski, Architects of Nova Scotia: A Biographical Dictionary, 1994, 214; inf. Gary Shutlak, PANS)
HALIFAX, N.S., major addition to the Club House for the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, Pleasant Street, 1903; with addition for the Boat Shop, 1906 (dwgs. at PANS, Halifax
HALIFAX, N.S., residence for F.G. Zwicker, Lucknow Street at Inglis Street, 1906 (Halifax City b.p. No. 13, 8 May 1906)
HALIFAX, N.S., residence for Dr. Zwicker, Lucknow Street, 1907 (Halifax City b.p. 317, 19 March 1907)
SHELBURNE, N.S., Post Office & Custom House, 1908 (Canada, Sessional Papers, 1909, Report No. 19, Part 3 - Report of the Chief Architect, 6; E. Pacey & A. Comiter, Landmarks: Historic Buildings of Nova Scotia, 1994, 103-04, illus.)